The Penguins have gone through three days of workouts and host their first preseason game Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The roster is pretty much set but there are a few interesting battles that will go on during the preseason. Does Janne Pesonen have the inside track of making the 23 man roster? DePaoli gives you the latest in the Inside Report.
The Penguins top 11 forwards are already set in stone:
Dupuis ‚Äì Crosby ‚Äì Satan
Staal ‚Äì Malkin ‚Äì Sykora
Fedotenko ‚Äì Talbot ‚Äì Cooke
Taffe ‚Äì Kennedy
In and out of the lineup
Eric Godard ‚Äì Fans loved to bash Georges Laraque during his tenure as a Penguin. Just wait until they get a heavy dose of Eric Godard. He will be a major liability and will only see a couple shifts a game. When the Penguins decide not to dress Godard which will be often, the Penguins want to set their selves up with a few different options. They could go with a skilled 4th line or add a gritty player like Ryan Stone to lineup.
Forwards in the mix
Ryan Stone ‚Äì Stone struggled during the early goings of camp and was scratched from playing in the team‚Äôs scrimmage on Thursday. Stone responded on Friday with a solid outing . He worked hard and was making things happen. What he has going for him is the Penguins envisioned him making the team this year as a 12/13th forward. His play in the preseason will tell the story
Janne Pesonen ‚Äì I‚Äôve heard mixed reviews from sources in regards to Janne Pesonen. Personally I haven‚Äôt been impressed and I just see him as a practice player. I don‚Äôt even know if I would notice him that much if he wasn‚Äôt so overhyped. Pesonen did perform better today and maybe he is starting to adapt to the NHL game but that remains to be seen. I am very interested in seeing how he performs in the preseason. According to sources I‚Äôve talked to it is a guarantee that Pesonen will be on the team‚Äôs roster when they go to Findland. Pesonen will be the team‚Äôs ambassador for that trip. Pesonen is not eligible for waivers and the most likely scenario is the Penguins sending him to WBS when they return from Finland to earn some valuable top 6 playing time before making the transition to the NHL. I‚Äôm not ready to write him off just yet but I only see him as a situational player that can step in for a game or two.
Kris Beech ‚Äì Beech added some muscle during the off-season and was playing a lot more physical than most people are used to seeing from him. He hasn‚Äôt been that bad during training camp but he needs to play very well in the preseason to make the 23 man roster.
Connor James ‚Äì James was solid in camp but the numbers are against him.
Bill Thomas ‚Äì I didn‚Äôt see much from Thomas but a source told me this evening that Thomas is still getting some consideration.
I‚Äôve heard some strong reports on Tim Wallace from some legitimate insiders. The Penguins have been surprised with his play and he may get a look in the preseason
Paul Bissonnette ‚Äì Michel Therrien really likes Bissonnette. Bissonnette was effective in camp on the forecheck and led the team in hits. He‚Äôs destined for WBS but did make an impression on the coaching staff. Mike Yeo was working with him on his positioning quite a few times over the course of camp.
The Penguins are floured with the development of Casey Pierro-Zabotel. I saw a lot of good things from him in the Penguins rookie camp last week and he performed well in Thursday‚Äôs practice.
More to come